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FROM THE EDITOR: A series of changes in print and in the newsroom

As that great Minnesota-born poet Robert Zimmerman once wrote, “The Times, They Are a-Changin.”€

I’€™m sure many of our readers noticed Wednesday and today the look of the Pahrump Valley Times has changed to a slightly bigger word size, a different design and a crisper look.

The most noticeable changes involve the size of the type and spacing between lines of type. Both increased slightly, and our hope is that readers will find stories easier to read. You will notice changes in headline type as well as some elements in the overall design of the newspaper.

The changes were the result of nationwide research with newspaper readers to find the most readable fonts, type styles and design elements.

Publisher Marie Wujek said she has received positive comments on the new look from readers.

These changes are part of working with the newspaper’s new owners, New Media Investment Group of New York, the company that bought the parent company of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and this newspaper in a deal announced in February.

But not everything ran too smoothly online this week. The mechanics behind our new look in print were also behind the inability for Wednesday’€™s newspaper to be loaded onto the newspaper’s website, pvtimes.com. As of writing this column Thursday morning, that problem has yet to be resolved.

This is not all that has changed at the Times.

Last week, a new reporter joined our newsroom from Illinois. Daria Sokolova started Monday, ostensibly replacing longtime Times reporter Mark Waite, who retired earlier this year.

Sokolova will be covering Nye County government and doing some investigative reporting. She has a journalism degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago, where she earned numerous journalism awards.

She joins reporter Mick Akers, who joined the Times newsroom in February following the unfortunate passing of reporter and community editor Charlene Dean. Akers is finishing his journalism degree at UNLV, and has written for numerous news outlets before joining this newspaper.

Sokolova and Akers join two reporters recognizable around the Pahrump community: Selwyn Harris and sports editor Vern Hee. So while the past few months has seen some upheaval in the Times newsroom, my hope is that we have the team in place that will provide you with the best and most professional news coverage in Pahrump and greater Nye County.

But it’€™s not just the full-time news staff that fill the pages. We also have the fortune of a great group of freelancers that contribute to the Times. Since I arrived in October, I’ve added Deborah Wall’s weekly outdoor column, and the excellent writer Brenda M. Klinger. Klinger, who moved to Pahrump from the East Coast not too long ago, has been leading the Community Section with great features (although she took this week off). Kristan Obeng, a recent graduate of UNLV, has also begun contributing articles.

I also brought in Chuck N. Baker, a veteran and Purple Heart recipient who submits a monthly column covering veterans’€™ issues impacting Pahrump.

These four join amazing writers that were already in place before my arrival. Michelle Hermann does both crime corners every week; historian Bob McCracken authored the brothel series and contributes a Pahrump history piece monthly; outdoorsman Dan Simmons submits a Sportsman’€™s Quest feature whenever asked and usually on short notice; and Patti Diamond, who authors the “Divas on a Dime” column every week.

Also contributing is Tonopah resident Bill Roberts, who writes for the Tonopah Times-Bonanza & Goldfield News, of which I am also the editor. Roberts’ father owned that newspaper before him, and Bill oversaw it before the family sold it to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Roberts has a deep knowledge and deeper love for the Tonopah community, and his articles and columns add a valuable insight when they cross into these pages.

Not to be overlooked is Beatty resident Richard Stephens, who has been submitting regular important dispatches from that town for more than 20 years. The passion I just described that Roberts has for Tonopah can easily be said of Stephens for Beatty.

And I shouldn’t forget weekly columnists Dennis Myers, Chuck Muth or John L. Smith. All three bring something different and valuable to the editorial page.

In the changing world of news photography, many photos that appear in the newspaper are taken by the reporters or myself. Freelancer Herb Melvoin is frequent contributor, as is former staff photographer Horace Langford Jr., whose photos continue to help stories be told through his keen lens.

This summer we’ve also had an intern from Pahrump Valley High who came to us through a NyE Communities Coalition program. Lexis Bray has contributed both articles and photos during the few summer weeks she has been with the paper, and plans to freelance after the internship is over.

Two others whose names never appear in the newspaper but contribute to each edition is freelance copy editor Pamela Christie and full-time designer Heather Ruth. Christie puts eyes on every word that lands in both the Pahrump and Tonopah newspaper. She also builds the briefs package, senior news, online guides for meetings and entertainment, and the District Attorney’s report.

Ruth is the master of many trades: loading pictures, building ads, loading the comics and television guide and horoscope and crossword puzzle and other things I’ve likely forgotten.

Of course, everyone mentioned are but a part of a larger community that bring you this newspaper twice a week, 104 issues a year, without fail. The in-office sales staff, office staff, designers and delivery team all contribute greatly to the success of this newspaper.

The glue of the newspaper is Wujek. When I interviewed with her for the editor position nearly 10 months ago, I knew in about 60 seconds that I wanted to work for this woman.

As we move forward, I’m sure there are more changes to come. But oftentimes, but not always, change is a positive.

Arnold M. Knightly is the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times.


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